Monthly Archives: July 2018

Paul McCartney fans rage as tickets for UK tour sell out “within seconds”

“As soon as it turned 10am all tickets had gone.”

Paul McCartney‘s fans have hit out online, after tickets for his UK tour seemingly sold out within seconds.

The Beatles icon is set to play three dates in Liverpool, Glasgow and London this December in support of his new album “Egypt Station”.

But as tickets went on sale at 10AM, fans claimed that they were completely unable to secure tickets.

Despite waiting patiently for the tickets to go on sale, they reportedly found that none were unavailable as soon as they accessed the purchase page.

Posting on Twitter, one fan raged: “Been waiting since 9.30 to get @PaulMcCartney tickets as soon as it turned 10am all tickets had gone.”

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Paul McCartney Announces Austria Concert

Wednesday 5th December – Stadthalle, ViennaAustria


“I can’t believe it’s been five years since our last concert in Austria.  We are really excited to be returning for what should be an extra special night.  We’ve got so many great memories of Austria and we know we’ll make some more this year.  The audience have always been so welcoming and up for rocking out with us.  Get ready for another big night of partying.” – Paul


How Beatles Producer George Martin Recorded ‘Hey Jude’ to Be ‘Hypnotic’ (Exclusive Excerpt)

“Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin — The Later Years, 1966 – 2016” (Chicago Review Press) is author Kenneth Womack’s concluding book of his two-volume biography of the life of Sir George Martin. The second volume looks at Martin’s work with the Beatles in their later years with the albums that included “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “The Beatles (The White Album)” and “Abbey Road,” and on through his work after the Beatles with Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick and America. The book hits the streets Sept. 4. This excerpt looks at the making of the Beatles’ single “Hey Jude.”

For Martin and the Beatles, the studio was dark the next day, as Lennon and McCartney worked at the latter’s Cavendish Avenue home, putting the finishing touches on a new composition titled “Hey Jude.” The bandmates and their producer may have had their trials and tribulations during the summer of 1968, but as Ringo observed years later, nothing excited the group more than working on a great new track. Inspired by Paul’s recent visit with John’s son Julian, “Hey Jude” had single written all over it. On Monday, July 29, with Martin taking a rare night off, McCartney debuted the song in Studio 2 with Ken Scott and new tape operator John Smith working up in the booth. The band recorded six takes of the song during the ensuing rehearsal, with McCartney on piano and lead vocals and Lennon’s acoustic guitar, Harrison’s electric guitar, and Starr’s drums. By the time that Martin joined them at Abbey Road the next evening, “Hey Jude” was quickly taking shape as a Beatles song of inordinate length.

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13th July 1954 – the Recording Session that changed British Music History

“Without Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan, without Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles.” – George Harrison.

July 13th 1954 – one of the most important recording sessions in British rock and pop history – by a Jazz Band!

The Chris Barber Jazz Band record an album for Decca at their studios in West Hampstead. The album is called New Orleans Joys.

Part way through the recording, the band realise they don’t have enough songs to make a full album, so they retire to the Railway Hotel pub next door to discuss what to do. They decide to record some songs they do live as a ‘Breakdown Group’ – this was a part of their concerts when they would allow the brass section a break and play some paired down music, bringing the guitar player to the front (it was seen as a percussion instrument before this) and have double bass (or improvised tea chest bass) and washboard, which would be played using thimbles.

Chris Barber decided he would play bass, and Lonnie Donegan would play guitar. Washboard player Beryl Bryden was called up and summoned to come to the studio from her home in nearby Maida Vale.

One of the songs they recorded was ‘Rock Island Line’ which had been popularised by Huddy Leadbetter, better known as ‘Lead Belly’. It was sang by Lonnie Donegan

The album went on to sell a few thousand copies, not bad for a jazz album, and ‘Rock Island Line’ just seen as an album track. Things changed though, nearly 2 years later. Bill Haley had a UK number one hit with Rock Around the Clock and record companies tried to find a similar record which would have the same impact. Decca then remembered about ‘Rock Island Line’ and released it as a single, credited to The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group. It became a huge hit record in the UK, and also ironically, in the US. More importantly, ‘Rock Island Line’ and other ‘skiffle’ songs, inspired thousands of British teenagers to start their own skiffle bands. The bands only need one cheap guitar, and the rest of the instruments could be adapted from household implements. Each song only had 3 or 4 chords to learn, so it was easy to play too. Guitar sales went up from about 2000 a year to 200,000 a year.

Amongst those who played in skiffle bands included: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, Dave Davies etc etc etc.

Skiffle itself died out. Lonnie Donegan went on record novelty songs, but others went onto other things :>)

“Without Lead Belly, no Lonnie Donegan, without Lonnie Donegan, no Beatles.” – George Harrison.

Lon, Paul, George and Ringo?  3 Beatles with  Lonnie Donegan – at Eric and Pattie Clapton’s wedding reception, 1979.

P.S. Elvis Presley’s version of ‘That’s Alright’ was recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis on July 5th 1954 – just 8 days before this session :>)

Blogger Richard Porter is a full time Beatles tour guide in London. For more on his tours, see

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine world premiere, July 17th 1968

How a north London schoolboy managed to gatecrash the Beatles’ glitzy film gala to end up sitting directly behind the Fab Four, with a bit of help from a Rolling Stone…

In 1968 David Stark (top left) was a 15 year old schoolboy, novice drummer and a huge Beatles fan ever since the group shot to fame in 1963. Despite only seeing them play live on one occasion (at Another Christmas Show at Hammersmith Odeon in January 1965) he was lucky to meet them all individually on various memorable occasions, and has some fascinating personal stories which he’s currently compiling for a forthcoming book. However his most remarkable encounter with the Fab Four was when he gatecrashed the world premiere of the legendary Yellow Submarine animated film and ended up sitting directly behind Paul and the entire group thanks to an incredible series of events, as he explains below.

Half a century on, David is a music biz veteran and has been Editor/Publisher of acclaimed industry resource SongLink International for the past 25 years. Later this month he’ll be presenting the annual SongLink Prizes for songwriting at LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) in the presence of lead patron Sir Paul McCartney, who inducted David as a Companion of LIPA back in July 2006. “It’s an incredible accolade,” says David, “and I always enjoy meeting Paul at least once a year to chat about the high standard of songwriting and musicianship at LIPA. Over the past dozen years I’ve presented SongLink Prizes to a fantastic bunch of talented students, many of whom have gone on to make their mark in the music industry.”

Meanwhile Yellow Submarine is being re-issued in cinemas for one day only on July 8th and David will be attending an 11am screening at Picturehouse Central on Piccadilly Circus, situated next to the site of the old London Pavilion where the world premiere was held on July 17th 1968. These days the cinema is better known as popular tourist attraction ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’, but luckily the building’s imposing facade dating from 1885 still exists, being the place where all three of the Beatles’ other movies had their London premieres – A Hard Days Night (1964), Help! (1965) and Let It Be (1970), the latter being the only one that David was actually invited to – but that’s another story…

In fact the Yellow Submarine premiere was the last major public event that the Fab Four all attended together, also marking what turned out to be London’s last-ever mass outpouring of Beatlemania with an estimated crowd of over 60,000 squashed into Piccadilly Circus to see the group and their guests arrive and depart. And David would have remained just one of the crowd if it hadn’t been for his spotting a conveniently unlocked door at the side of the cinema, as he recalls:

“It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon in mid-July 1968 when I arrived at Piccadilly Circus at around 3pm with my pal David Harris, who wasn’t especially a massive fan like myself but quite happy to come along for the occasion. A sizeable crowd was already gathering by the time we arrived and barriers were being put in place outside the London Pavilion, which looked very impressive with an enormous display announcing “The Beatles Yellow Submarine”, along with huge cut-outs of their cartoon characters. The excitement was beginning to build even though the big event was a few hours away, and as I surveyed the scene from our vantage point by the statue of Eros I suddenly spotted someone entering a side door situated next to the main cinema entrance.

“Let’s go and see where that leads,” I said, and off we strolled to the door in question to find it unlocked, quite amazingly. A few seconds later we found ourselves in an old lift whizzing up to the top floor, where we immediately ascended a small flight of stairs leading to the cinema roof. We then opened the door to find a few assorted youngsters like ourselves, mostly French for some reason, who all had the same idea and somehow found their way up to the top.

The view from the roof was quite extraordinary, watching hordes of people gathering below to become what would eventually be a huge crowd waiting for the stars to arrive. And there we were, looking down on it all, chatting to the Frenchies and wondering what the hell we were going to do next. Eventually, from around 7pm, limousines and taxis started arriving to drop off the guests, and after looking at all the action below us for a few minutes, I told David that we should try our luck and get into the cinema itself.

On reflection, I must have had some kind of an inkling that I was going to try something, as I was smartly dressed in a Regency-style Lord John suit and long-collared turquoise shirt plus colourful kipper tie. David was more modestly attired in a regular blazer, but we both looked the part. Which was extremely lucky, as no sooner had we stepped down from the roof into the cinema’s upper circle then we were immediately accosted by an usherette who asked to see our tickets.

“Er, I’m sorry but we left them downstairs when we came in”, I hastily explained. “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that, you need to keep your ticket with you at all times”, replied the young usherette, probably not believing a word of it, “I’ll have to call the manager over to sort this out.”

A minute or two later her superior arrived and asked how we came to be there. I said the first thing that came into my head: “We were invited by Clive Epstein (the late Brian’s brother) who I’m sure will vouch for us if we can find him.” Gulp! This was a real long-shot, I’d dropped Clive’s name as he was my only tenuous Beatles connection, having actually met him and his wife Barbara during a family holiday in Torquay four years earlier. It surely meant possible eviction if we found him and the same if we didn’t. “Ok then”, said the manager, “let’s go and see if we can find him”.

He then took us down one floor to the dress circle where all the stars and VIP’s were gathering, and into the main bar where, amongst others, I recognised members of Status Quo but no sign of Clive. However, as we continued walking around I suddenly spotted a familiar-looking rotund figure with a prominent bald head and heavy-rimmed glasses. It was Dick James, the Beatles’ music publisher and partner with Brian Epstein in Northern Songs which looked after the prized Lennon-McCartney catalogue.

I’d never met him before, but knew exactly who he was so approached him to ask, “Have you seen Clive Epstein here tonight by any chance?” Dick immediately replied, “No, he rang me this afternoon and said he was stuck in Liverpool on business and couldn’t make it tonight.” On hearing this, the manager turned to me and said, “I can see you know people here so that’s ok, enjoy the film.” Bingo! I thanked Dick and we moved off, not knowing then that he was to become my first boss in the music business at Dick James Music just a few years later.

So we were in and safe with management approval, but of course didn’t actually have any seats. We stood at the back of the dress circle where quite a few others were doing the same, so luckily didn’t feel at all conspicuous. We’d only been standing there a few minutes before a sudden barrage of flashing lights and noise erupted as Ringo and wife Maureen walked in first, followed shortly by John, Yoko and Paul who were all being trailed by numerous photographers and TV crews. Last to arrive were George and Patti who walked straight past us standing against the back wall, a clip of which can be seen in old ITV news footage of the event with me pulling a totally ridiculous face.  Eventually all four Beatles and their partners had taken their seats in the front row, while David and I looked on and considered ourselves amazingly lucky to be standing at the back.

However, as the lights started going down and the paparazzi gradually retired, I spotted two empty aisle seats in the second row directly behind Paul and his guest, Patti’s sister Jenny Boyd (Paul had just split up from Jane Asher that week). We quickly walked down the aisle and discovered that the third seat along was occupied by a flamboyantly-dressed Keith Richards, with girlfriend Anita Pallenberg on his other side. I asked him if anyone was sitting in the two empty seats and he replied, “Nah, they’re Mick and Marianne’s but they’re away in New York right now so you’re ok there.” Very nice of him indeed! So we sat down to watch the film premiere courtesy of Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, with Keef on my immediate right, Paul directly in front of me and John to his right, with Yoko next to him while George, Patti, Ringo and Maureen were further along the front row.

Of course the whole situation was completely surreal – I was half-expecting us to be turfed out of our seats at any moment, but once the lights went down we were fine. Curiously the programme started with a Pink Panther animated short which gave us time to take stock of the situation and realise how incredibly lucky we were. To be honest it was hard take my eyes off John who was directly in my sight-line. He had always been my favourite Beatle, the one who I sketched doodles of and the one whose surreal sense of humour and outspoken attitude were a huge influence, as it was to so many countless others. And there he was sitting just inches in from of me in his eye-cathing all-white suit, black shirt and Indian-style Talisman necklace that he’d been wearing on and off for the past year or so (years later bought by Noel Gallagher at auction as a present for brother Liam).

Then the big moment came when all eyes were glued to the screen for the world premiere of Yellow Submarine, and what a uniquely original experience it proved to be. Dazzlingly colourful, witty, brilliantly animated and rich with Beatles songs old and new, it was totally unlike any other cartoon feature seen before, save for a distinct nod to Disney’s Fantasia. I was completely blown away by it, particularly with the Liverpool-based Eleanor Rigby opening sequence and also the Lucy In The Sky section with its sensational mix of pop-art, random brush-strokes and vivid colours. As George’s intriguing new song stated, it certainly was “All Too Much” and I found myself being totally enraptured by what I was seeing on screen, especially as I was half-watching John and the others taking it all in. I loved the new songs too, and at one point leant over to inform Paul quietly “that was a good one” (think it was ‘Hey Bulldog’) to which he replied with a quick ‘oh, thanks”.

Eventually the nasty Blue Meanies and the evil Flying Glove were all transformed into peace-loving music fans by the sheer power of Sgt. Pepper Lonely Heart’s Club band and the film drew to a close – but not before the final live-action sequence with Ringo finding “a hole in my pocket” and John informing us that “newer and bluer Meanies have been sighted within the vicinity of this theatre.” The audience gave it a huge ovation which went on for several minutes, while it was an incredible feeling to be sitting directly behind the four mega-stars who had inspired the whole magical experience.

As the applause slowly died down, I realised that we were completely people-locked as virtually everyone in the vicinity wanted to speak to the Beatles and pay their compliments on the film. I ended up chatting with John and George for a few moments, I can’t remember a word of what was said but can just about recall George being politely attentive to my high opinion of the movie. We then pretty much followed him to the dress circle’s foyer area, where he was surrounded by more TV cameras and reporters wanting to get a quick word with him with Patti looking on too.

So that was it.. but not quite. David and I hung around the foyer for as long we could while the Fab Four and all the other VIP’s left for the after-show party at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in Bayswater. We would have loved to have gone on to it but a) didn’t know exactly where it was, and b) we both had to get to our respective homes (mine in Edgware, David’s in Dollis Hill) before the tubes stopped. However we did experience the ultimate feeling of being a part of the whole event as we stepped outside to see and hear thousands of fans being held back by police all singing “We all live in a Yellow Submarine” in deafening unison, an unbelievable experience. Of course we realised that without a little bit of luck (and chutzpah) we would have ended up doing exactly the same thing had not events gone our way in such an unexpected way.

And throughout it all we pretty much kept our cool by not asking for a single autograph (we probably had no pens on us) or a selfie, hardly surprising as I didn’t carry my faithful old Kodak Brownie around with me too often at that time, although I did actually snap George Martin going into Abbey Road Studios in 1966. It was all rather different from how things are fifty years on, and as the lovely Mary Hopkin famously sang during that seminal summer of ’68, those were the days my friend, indeed they were…

Extracted from “It’s All Too Much – Adventures of a Teenage Beatles Fan in the ’60s And Beyond” by David Stark. Publication date TBC. All rights reserved © 2018 David Stark.

So Who is a ‘Verified Fan’ of Paul McCartney?

There has been much controversy amongst Paul McCartney fans about the allocation of tickets for his forthcoming ‘Freshen Up’ tour. To get tickets in the presale from the you have to register as a ‘verified fan’. Apparently, checks are made to see whether you are a real fan or a tout, who will sell the tickets for an enormous profit on one of the many ticket resale websites. However, many loyal fans are not getting the codes needed to order tickets and have been left very frustrated and annoyed. The annoyance is increased when you see that tickets bought through this scheme are already turning up on stubhub, and all the other sites the scheme is meant to prevent happening in the first place. At the time of writing, there are at least 10 pairs of tickets on stubhub on offer for more than £1000 a ticket – the most expensive being £16,800!!!

Clearly the verified fan scheme isn’t working!

Paul McCartney Announces First Concert in Krakow, Poland

December 3rd: Krakow, Poland – Tauron Arena

New album Egypt Station out September 7th on Capitol Records

“It’s always fun to visit new places and helps to keep things fresh and exciting for us. I’ve always wanted to see Krakow and have heard so many great things about it. We had such a blast on our last trip to Poland so we know this is going to be another special night for us and we can’t wait to get back. Get ready to rock, Poland!” – Paul



Plaque AGREED for 3 Savile Row to Commemorate ‘Rooftop Concert!’

I’m very glad to report that the owners of 3 Savile Row have agreed to the erecting of a plaque to commemorate the Beatles last ever live performance on the rooftop. It is hoped the plaque will be unveiled on or before 30th January 2019 – the 50th anniversary of this historic event.

A committee will now be formed to facilitate this happening, and to organise a ceremony for its unveiling. If you are interested in getting involved, please email


Yellow Submarine 50th Anniversary Screening

Just back from the 50th Anniversary Screening of ‘Yellow Submarine’. I saw it at Picturehouse Central, which is next to the London Pavilion, where the film had its original premiere on July 17th 1968.

It was great seeing it on the big screen again – it looking and sounded great.

Everyone that went was given a special Yellow Submarine goody envelope, that included stickers and postcards.

Look out for screenings around the world in the next week or so.

Happy Birthday Sir Ringo!

Happy Birthday Sir Ringo Starr! 78 years old today!

We will be wishing Ringo ‘Peace and Love’ on my London Beatles Walk at 12 noon today. We will be outside the former Apple Shop on Baker Street, on the corner of Paddington Street,. If you are in the area, please come and join us. The tour starts at 11am at Marylebone Station, and we will be getting to Baker Street just before noon.

For more details on my tours, go to http://www.beatle